Inside this issue > Guinness makes you stronger > SPRING CARNIVAL 2010 > First Youth Olympic Games > Big journey for one mammoth donkey > Big Brown HEADS Down Under
Chairman’s Report As I am compiling this report parts of the Arab World remain in political and social turmoil, as citizens look beyond their borders for democratic solutions to their countries’ problems. So it is perhaps fittingly coincidental that in 2010, for the first time ever, a contingent of buyers from Libya ventured south across the globe, for the Magic Millions Sales in Queensland, Australia. This resulted in the Libyan buyers taking home, with IRT’s assistance, a consignment of Australian-bred horses. I hope that the example of the 2010 Magic Millions will encourage more buyers to explore Australian bloodstock in the near future. However, the subsequent political implosion of North Africa does illustrate
how hard it is for sales companies worldwide to establish new local export markets, when the politics of emerging countries are so fickle. Equally fickle are the laws of supply and demand in the airfreight business, resulting in the chopping and changing of routes, as a result of general cargo demand. For instance, for the past ten years Cargloux has operated a 747-400 air freighter every Sunday from Melbourne, via Auckland, to Los Angeles – which provided a regular and cost effective delivery solution for USA owners buying standardbred and equestrian horses ‘down under’. Then with the stroke of a pen last August, at the Headquarters of Cargolux in Luxembourg, the service was withdrawn, as cargo demand dried up.
Resulting in a previously strong source of export income to breeders and owners ‘down under’ being lost. Whilst there are alternative routes to the USA via Asia, these are longer and more stressful for the horses and far less cost effective. The above illustrates that the parameters in business are always changing and that to provide an effective service you must be nimble and flexible in locating new solutions, as old ones dry up. In achieving this at IRT our greatest asset is our experienced staff. Of the approximately 40 staff employed worldwide, over 15 have worked with IRT for more than 20 years, and several more than 30 years. As Chairman I have been shipping horses since 1967, so you will not find any more experienced organisation in moving horses around the world than IRT. That is probably
Guinness makes you stronger It may have been just a humorous old advertising slogan for Ireland’s favourite black beer, but another IRT flyer who raced competitively beside STARSPANGLEDBANNER last year may prove the point. KINSALE KING finished a respectable third in the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, on a diet that trainer Carl O’Callaghan says includes plenty of eggs and a pint of Guinness each day. Should the claim have been made by any other trainer, one might not believe it, but O’Callaghan is not your usual training success story. He left Ireland for the States on a one-way ticket as a teenager and spent time sleeping rough and playing guitar on the streets of New York, before earning a job in the stables at Belmont and working his way into training. A win by KINSALE KING at the Dubai World Cup soon changed the young trainer’s fortunes. Now based in Los Angeles, he has been known to take the guitar out and sing a song from time to time, but showbiz will have to wait, as he’s now responsible for a stable of more than 40 horses. Photo by Royal Ascot
IRT Blueprint 2011
Cover image: Courtesy of Vinery Stud
THE BLUEPRINT GOES GREEN
why we still employ as many staff today as we did prior to the GFC and why IRT remains strong and extremely well supported by clients from all over the globe.
You hold in your hands the final printed edition of the IRT Blueprint.
Despite the outlook for thoroughbred horse sales worldwide being subdued, the sale of horses generally remains buoyant. Particularly as sales to Asia grow, to meet their fast-developing racing and equestrian industries. While Asia’s involvement in all things equestrian will not transform the horse business in the traditional horse breeding and racing nations back to the halcyon days of the 2000s, it will – together with an economic recovery in the USA – at least place the horse industry back on an even keel.
But don’t fret, our good-natured, annual wrap-up of events in and around the world of IRT and the equine community will continue, in digital form, delivered straight to your inbox and on our website. The reasons are common, yet important – the speed, ease, economy and environmental benefits of moving away from print and regular mail are too great to ignore. Everyone at IRT loves sharing their news with you all and receiving great feedback and personal articles from our loyal clients. We hope you will continue to enjoy the Blueprint, even though it will be in a slightly greener shade.
All salute Starspangledbanner Amongst the many different horses that IRT transports in a given year, there are inevitably a few big name racehorses, but this year one in particular stood out; winning a bag of Group 1 races on two continents, being named IRT Champion Australian-Bred International Performer (at the Australian Racehorse of the Year Awards) and seeing his value skyrocket along the way. STARSPANGLEDBANNER is the colt’s name and that bold reference to the famous American flag of red, white and blue certainly had a few experts standing at attention. Purchased by Coolmore for a reported AUD$10.25 million, STARSPANGLEDBANNER well and truly honoured their faith in his abilities, winning the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate at Melbourne’s Caulfield, before being shipped by IRT to the UK and into the famous hands of Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien at Ballydoyle stables. There he was readied for the storied Royal Ascot carnival, where he would be well manoeuvred by jockey Johnny Murtagh and soon joined the ranks of CHOISIR, SCENIC BLAST, HARADASUN, MISS ANDRETTI and TAKEOVER TARGET as Australian winners there in the past decade, with a dominant 1.75-length win in the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes.
It was fitting STARSPANGLEDBANNER should join that elite club, given he is the son of CHOISIR. But he soon went one better than dad, winning the carnival’s Group 1 July Cup and becoming the first Australian horse to clinch that double. It was no easy feat either, challenged by a field that included a total of 16 Group 1 wins and two past July Cup winners. All in all that made four Group 1 wins for a horse that Aidan O’Brien has described as the “Fastest sprinter I have trained.” High praise indeed. STARSPANGLEDBANNER’s racing days are over now though and he will stand stud in Ireland for Coolmore this year – at an estimated 30,000 fee – before making the trip back home for the Australian breeding season.
SPRING CARNIVAL 2010 Just in case there was any doubt remaining, last year’s Spring Carnival in Melbourne proved once and for all that the spoils are well and truly available to horses from both hemispheres.
IRT was proud to transport the winners of all four major races; VRC Derby winner LION TAMER, Oaks winner BRAZILIAN PULSE, Emirates Stakes winner WALL STREET (all from Auckland) and Melbourne Cup winner AMERICAIN from England (en route from France). Our congratulations to all the winners and their connections. AMERICAIN became the Cup’s first French-trained winner, in its 150th running and fittingly bookended with the very first winner, who happened to be trained by Etienne de Mestre, the Australianborn son of a French horseman. AMERICAIN had already entered the Australian record books as the first French-trained horse to win any Group race there in his first start “downunder”, the Group 3 Geelong Cup. As the name might suggest, he was actually sourced in North America, by Australian bloodstock agent Dave Medbury (who lives in Ireland) and together with Rob Roultson Bloodstock in Melbourne arranged the sale.
Photo courtesy of Victoria Racing Club
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Melbourne owners Gerry Ryan and Kevin Bamford had eyed AMERICAIN as a possible Cup runner and bought him for that purpose. After the sale, he was soon on his way from Florida to France with IRT, to be trained at Aiglemont, near Chantilly, by Alain de Royer Dupre. Rounding out the French team was jockey Gerald Mosse, who has won many of the world’s big races in a long, illustrious career. “A big thanks to the owner (sic) who gave me the confidence to be the first French jockey to win the Melbourne Cup,” he said after the race. “I will not say that it was easy but it is when we win.” Indeed, winning Group 1 races is never easy, but as last year’s Spring Carnival proved once more, winning them with horses from almost anywhere in the world is becoming more and more common. Part-owner of AMERICAIN, Gerry Ryan, recently told reporters that they’ll do it all again this year – preparing the Cup champion in France, before bringing him back to defend his title. A feat not seen since the great British-bred (Australian-trained) MAKYBE DIVA won three in a row from 2003-2005.
IRT International Equine Scholarship 2011 Photo courtesy of Magic Millions
A Yearling To Remember Seems there’s always big news out of Australia’s Magic Millions sales and this year’s crowd pleaser was a REDOUTE’S CHOICE colt out of Australian Oaks (Group 1) winner SUNDAY JOY (SUNDAY SILENCE). After a bidding war between Peter Moody and Gai Waterhouse, the hammer fell to Moody’s favour, at a handsome price of AUD$1.15 million. That was the top price paid for a yearling at the Magic Millions this year and continues a growing trend of rich international bloodlines. JOIE DENISE the dam of SUNDAY JOY was amongst
the first large shipment of mares to be sent with IRT to breed overseas (in Japan). SUNDAY JOY is already the dam of three-time Group 1 winner MORE JOYOUS (MORE THAN READY). This came hot-on-the-heels of another IRT flyer who visited SUNDAY SILENCE this year, SILENT HEIR, which fetched AUD$528,000 at the Tattersalls sales in the UK in December. Nearly thirty years into the “shuttle” service, as it’s known, it would seem that international breeding is here to stay and region-specific bloodlines may become a thing of the past.
Each year IRT sponsors an international student to study for a Diploma of Horse Business Management, at Australia’s highlyregarded Marcus Oldham College. Judy Munro, the College’s Scholarship Coordinator, recently informed IRT of the 2011 recipient, here’s some of her letter: “Marcus Oldham College is pleased to advise that the 2011 recipient for the IRT International Equine Scholarship has been selected. The student is Eddie Wong from Singapore. Eddie has been impacted by serious family financial difficulties in his youth. He has worked at a number of stables in the capacity of stable hand and track rider. His aspiration is to become a successful thoroughbred race horse trainer.” From everyone at IRT we wish Eddie the very best in his studies and future success in the equine industry. Photos by Eddie Wong
BREEDER’S CUP WIDENS ITS NET The Breeder’s Cup recently made some important eligibility rule changes, which are good news for those trying to get a horse in the race – especially from the Southern Hemisphere.
The first change is to the “Win-And-You’reIn” program, which designates a variety of graded stakes races worldwide, whose winners automatically qualify for the Breeder’s Cup race. Starting this year, the Breeder’s Cup will pay the entry fees and subsidise travel costs for those winners which become eligible. The second change allows all foals sired by Breeder’s Cup nominated international stallions to automatically become eligible to participate. This really helps Southern Hemisphere stallions, where the off-spring are born about 6 months behind the Northern Hemisphere, making competing in the Cup at 2 or 3 years old unlikely.
To qualify, owners of stallions standing outside North America, but in the Northern Hemisphere will pay an annual nomination fee equal to 50% of their stallion’s published stud fee, whilst those in the Southern Hemisphere will pay only 25%. It’s an exciting change for owners all over the world, as well as race fans, getting the best horses from all corners of the globe should make for even more exciting races and further encourage an already everexpanding, quality pool of world breeders.
Lion Tamer gets focused on Derby
HIGH PRAISE AND HIGH PRICE FOR EXITING STAR When the likes of Bart Cummings (a legend of Australian race horse training) are throwing around PHAR LAP comparisons, you know they’re talking about a very special horse. So it was when Cummings was asked to comment on the sale of his former stable member SO YOU THINK, “It’s a bit like Phar Lap during the Depression – people love this horse, “ he said. “I think this (sale) is a great tragedy for racing.” Strong words and perhaps not to the liking of former owner (and long-time Cummings collaborator) Dato Tan Chin Nam, who agreed to sell his controlling share of the 2009 & 2010 Cox Plate winner to Coolmore Stud. The estimated AUD$30-40 million deal saw SO YOU THINK transported by IRT to Europe, shortly before Christmas, where Aidan O’Brien will race him this year, before he goes to stud. It’s a move reminiscent of the stud preparations O’Brien has previously made for champions like HARADASUN and STARSPANGLEDBANNER.
Cummings may feel he’s lost a horse in the prime of its racing years, but such an ascent into the upper ranks of sires is in SO YOU THINK’s blood. He was sired by HIGH CHAPARRAL (a winning son of SADLER’S WELLS), shuttled numerous times by IRT in Australia to Windsor Park Stud in New Zealand, where SO YOU THINK was conceived. HIGH CHAPARRAL has now stood his first season at Coolmore’s Hunter Valley base, at an advertised rate of AUD$88,000. “The response to him has been fantastic,” said Coolmore’s Colm Santry. “A Group 1 winner every season he raced, a Derby winner, Breeders’ Cup winner and now a proven Group 1 sire, he ticks all the boxes.” Surely Coolmore are hoping that that kind of resume will continue to run in the family. Photo courtesy of Moonee Valley Racing Club
As mentioned in this Blueprint’s Spring Racing Carnival roundup, it was a great year for IRT flyers, but one winner’s short trip from Sydney to Melbourne might have been enough to make all the difference. “He got a bit colty in Sydney and I don’t think his mind was fully on the job,” said co-trainer Murray Baker of LION TAMER, which had won Randwick’s September Ming Dynasty Handicap, before going a little astray in the big city. “We got him down to Melbourne,” continued Baker “and put a tongue tie and blinkers on which got him focused.” Whether it was the change of scenery or new headwear, LION TAMER maintained his focus alright, in conditions which would have rightly distracted most any other, human or horse. Philip Bayly’s “homebred” wonder stormed home by six and a half lengths, allowing jockey Hugh Bowman to ease up, stand high in the stirrups and salute the victory. Bayly also got a place in the Melbourne Cup with BLUE DENIM, a feat Baker was quick to praise, saying “He doesn’t breed from many mares but it’s unbelievable what he’s done… he’s competing with the big boys in Aussie and he’s won the Derby and is in the Cup.” Our congratulations to Philip Bayly - and all the connections of LION TAMER – we hope his New Zealand “homebred” winners continue to make their mark on the world stage. Photo courtesy of Victoria Racing Club
IRT Blueprint 2011
Photo courtesy of QLD racing. Photo by Ross Stevenson.
Feel Good in the sun
It’s not uncommon for folks in their later years to find a nice warm climate, somewhere more suited to the retiring life. It seems that champion pacer MR FEELGOOD may be no different, even though moving to the sunny Gold Coast of Australia meant putting his retirement on hold momentarily. We’ve spoken highly of the New Zealand-trained MR FEELGOOD’s exploits abroad in Blueprint’s past – especially his canny knack for winning major Australian races. But after beating BLACK’S A FAKE in the 2009 Gold Coast Inter Dominion final, the wins dried
up. After a loss to BLACK’S A FAKE in March’s Sydney Interdom final, owners Kevin Seymour and Peter O’Shea started putting plans together for his stud career. However, with the breeding season a ways off, they decided to put the champ in new hands, to see if he could capture his old form for a few more wins. So Seymour called Queensland-based trainer and driver Luke McCarthy, who’d just returned from a successful stint in the driver’s seat Stateside, and he accepted the challenge.
First Youth Olympic Games In 2010, Singapore hosted the first ever Youth Olympic Games. More than 3,500 competitors aged between 14 and 18, from amongst 205 National Olympic Committees, competed at 26 different sports, including equestrian events. IRT was pleased to work with Equestrian Venue Manager Jeremy Edwards, to assist with the transport of 38 Queensland-trained horses from Australia for the event, with Youth Olympic Games sponsor Singapore Airlines. Both Summer and Winter Games are intended to be held every four years from now on, staggered in two year intervals, between the Olympic Games. The equestrian events were held at the purpose-built and newly completed Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre, right beside the Singapore Racecourse at Kranji. The second Youth Olympic Games is scheduled for 2014 in Nanjing, China. IRT certainly hope to stay involved with this great new tradition in Olympic, and equestrian, competition around the globe.
It was a wise move, MR FEELGOOD went out with a bang, winning 8 of his first 11 starts in McCarthy’s care. All the same, the trainer was reluctant to take too much credit for the champion’s late revival, saying “It’s probably a combination of things, but he seems to thrive in the warmer climate here than Christchurch where Tim and Anthony Butt had him”. Perhaps the older we get, we can all relate to that.
Big Journey For One Mammoth Donkey
Japans Welcome Return
In another equine transport first for IRT, early in 2010 we were pleased to take responsibility for delivering the first registered donkey to be transported from Canada to New Zealand.
Last September IRT was honoured to be undergoing the yearly task of delivering some of the world’s best race horses to Melbourne for the Spring Carnival.
Breeder Sybil Sewell – who operates Windy Ridge Farm Donkeys, near Leslieville, Alberta, Canada with her husband Carl – was good enough to check in with us about the journey. It began with slight uncertainty for the rare, 2-yearold Mammoth jennet (female), named WINDY RIDGE BLACK MARIAH. After a long drive from Alberta to Kentucky in the US for quarantine (almost 3,000 miles) with Elliot’s Equine Transport, the special passenger began her journey with IRT, with a relatively short hop to Honolulu. The threats of a Tsunami closing in went unnoticed by the 17 horses ready to head south and thankfully the storm never interfered with their takeoff south. BLACK MARIAH’s new owners, Bryan and Jenny Clausen of Awapuni Donkey Stud in Taupiri, New Zealand eagerly awaited the arrival of a donkey that would soon add some very special North
American bloodlines to their small herd of Mammoth Jack stock, which in North America, represents the largest size class of donkey. The Mammoth is currently on the Rare Breeds List, after a long history in the United States, where it was originally imported from Spain and Malta in 1785, by none other than George Washington himself. The Sewells have specialised in Mammoth Jack stock since 1979 and are somewhat the experts up in Canada – where they are founding members of the Canadian Donkey and Mule Association and Alberta Donkey and Mule Club. They send many donkeys to the US, but when BLACK MARIAH left home in January last year, they were proud to see one of their beloved breed head so far across the world. After the long trip and required quarantining, BLACK MARIAH arrived safe and well in New Zealand last March, where if nothing else, she’s sure to make a big impact on the local scene.
It was business as usual, except for a couple of very important exceptions. TOKAI TRICK (a nine-year-old considered the “iron horse” of Japanese racing) was the first horse permitted into Australia from Japan since the 2007 Equine Influenza (EI) outbreak. With TOKAI TRICK finishing 12th in both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, he may not have taken home any silverware – as their most recent countrymen to race in the Carnival, DELTA BLUES and POP ROCK so brilliantly did, with a onetwo finish in the 2006 Melbourne Cup – but just being in Australia was a great milestone. “Racing Victoria has worked closely with AQIS (Australia’s Quarantine body) to implement protocols for the return of Japanese horses,” said Racing Victoria’s former General Manager – Racing Operations, Leigh Jordan. Adding that it was “a landmark day for the Australian racing industry.” It was certainly one that IRT were proud to be a part of and we look forward to helping more Japanese greats take on Australia’s biggest races. Editor’s Note: As we went to print this year, Japan was only just coming to terms with the effects of a devastating earthquake and tsunami, and their resulting nuclear threats. All at IRT send their very best thoughts to the people of Japan, especially the families of the lost, in this time of great national suffering.
Photo couresty of Jenny Clausen, Awapuni Donkey Stud and Peter van Dijk
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‘One armed’ rodeo goes from Oklahoma to Oman John Payne is not your average rodeo rider and Oman (in the Middle East) is not your average rodeo location. But so it was that last December IRT USA found themselves – in conjunction with fellow shipping agent and long-time ally Equitrans – shipping Payne’s entire One Armed Bandit and Company rodeo to Muscat for the Royal Cavalry of Oman. For the record, that’s: 9 horses, 2 mules, 2 Zorses (the rare offspring of a Zebra stallion and a horse mare), 2 Bison and 3 Longhorns. The “One Armed Bandit” is John Payne himself, who lost an arm after being severely electrocuted. According to
John, the doctors had wanted to remove a leg too, but he said he’d rather die than be unable to ride. He now runs the successful rodeo company, which also includes his son Lynn and daughter Amanda – all three of them the star riders of their award-winning show. Based in Oklahoma, John and the team made the trip to Chicago first, from where they loaded up onto a Qatar 777 freighter, bound for Muscat. Seems nothing can stop this native Oklahoman and his love for horses, except maybe his wife Judy (who also works for the company), whom the 57-year-old hopes to spend a lot more (relaxing) time with when he finally gets out of the saddle.
Travelling Light Janah Management Company, the transport arm of the famous Darley organisation, recently achieved an unlikely milestone, one some human travellers might wish they could imitate. By chartering an entire Emirates Boeing 777 to transport just five stallions, the light payload enabled them to complete the Sydney to New York leg non-stop! IRT do ground work on flights for Janah out of Australia, and between the two companies we’re pretty sure this is a first. Twenty hours in the air is no picnic, but it sure beats missing your connecting flight… or finding out your luggage did.
Photo by David Perez
Big Brown Journeys Down (Under) As an undefeated runner on turf, champion of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and winner of many other top races, BIG BROWN was a real crowd pleaser in his racing days. Now at stud the charismatic stallion, from the DANZIG line, draws no less of a crowd. So it’s with great pride that IRT shuttled the big fella down to Australia recently, for the 2010 Southern Hemisphere breeding season. More information can be found at www.vinery.com.au Image courtesy of Vinery Stud
Send in the clones In December last year Australian Quarter Horse owner/breeder Richard Bull purchased a four-year-old stallion at the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity sale in the US, for transport to Australia, with IRT. sending it the same signal the sperm would normally send the egg to begin forming an embryo. Once the egg has received the signal, Hinrichs grows the resulting embryo in a Petri dish in the laboratory for seven days. Then, the embryo is transferred trans-cervically (non-surgically) into a recipient mare.” You could say that it’s an assignment identical to many IRT undertakes for owners and breeders around the globe, but this one had a further “identical” element – the cutting horse in question, was a clone. SMART LITTLE LENA D is one of five clones produced by researchers at Texas A&M University, which will help further spread the gene pool of one of the greatest cutting horses in history. SMART LITTLE LENA (the original) has sired some 2,300 registered foals, with earnings around the US$40 million mark. Obviously the thought of purchasing your own stallion with the exact same gene make-up would be attractive to any breeder. According to the Texas A&M researcher responsible for this breakthrough cloning program,
Dr Katrin Hinrichs, the techniques used are much the same as those used in embryo transfer and artificial insemination. An article in CorralOnline. com explained the process:
PERCUSSIONIST REPAYS SOME PASSION
Ridden by regular jockey James Patrick O’Farrell, and owned by Morten Buskop and Old Friends Stable, PERCUSSIONIST tidily erased their fears of the firm track not suiting the champion, who’s had great success on softer European courses, whether on the flat or over fences. For the owners and trainer Hanne Bechmann, it was just the improvement they were looking for, after finishing second in the same race the year before, with GENERAL LEDGER.
IRT flyer PERCUSSIONIST wasted no time getting acquainted with US racing last October, winning his first start in the famous Grand National (Group 1) at Far Hills. A pleasant day saw 40,000 spectators fill the central New Jersey course and witness the SADLER’S WELLS gelding burst out late and ease down the stretch for a decisive and well deserved victory over the strong-running SLIP AWAY.
IRT Blueprint 2011
“Hinrichs explained that an egg is normally fertilized by a sperm. Because the egg and the sperm have to combine to form a cell, they each only have half the chromosomes you would find in a regular cell. As soon as the sperm enters the egg, it tells the egg to start making the embryo. Cloning a cell is a similar process. The scientist takes out the egg’s chromosomes and puts chromosomes in from the donor’s skin cell. Once the chromosomes are placed in the egg, the scientist activates the egg by
PERCUSSIONIST is a real passion project for Buskop and his wife, who both work professional day jobs in Denmark. Each morning they exercise PERCUSSIONIST in their small yard outside Copenhagen, before tidying up and heading to the office. Hopefully this successful raid on the US$250,000 Grand National purse will go some way to making up for those early mornings and long days.
But cloning cannot produce a sure-fire performance horse and in fact at this point, breed registries will not allow clones to be registered. As Hinrichs explains it “The environment of the embryo, health of the placenta and amount of milk the mare produces all affect the size and build of the horse.” A clone’s chromosomal DNA will match the original, but not its mitochondrial DNA and unlike some other animals, cloned horses tend to look different too. It would seem that the science fiction scenario of cloning is still some way away, but the success of SMART LITTLE LENA D and others as sires will no doubt be watched very closely, by a worldwide breeding community always searching for a piece of great bloodlines.
Lot of love at Tattersalls December Mare Sale When California-based owner Willie de Burgh asked IRT to ship mare SOINLOVEWITHYOU to Ireland to be bred to European champion stallion SEE THE STARS, the results were always going to be worth watching. de Burgh’s decision paid dividends at the UK’s Tattersalls December Mare Sale, where SOINLOVEWITHYOU sold in-foal to agent Hugo Lascelles for an opening day top price of 950,000 Guineas (close to GBP£1 million). “She has been bought for ownerbreeders in the US,” confirmed Lascelles. “I did have to pay a little more than expected to buy her – lots of people were in on her. She will visit a top US stallion next spring.”
Racing Victoria Opens New Quarantine Near Melbourne Last year saw the opening of a brand new quarantine and equine surgery centre beside Werribee Racecourse, near Melbourne. With Sandown’s quarantine now closed, it’s the only private quarantine facility in the state and is currently reserved for Racing Victoria’s international competitors. Given its proximity to the racecourse and its training facilities, IRT quickly made use of the quarantine, for its Spring Carnivalbound travellers – who arrived just weeks after the centre’s opening. Werribee received a AUD$200,000 funding boost to establish the project, from a partnership between the Victorian Government and Racing Victoria Limited. It is one of a range of initiatives being aided by the state’s AUD$86 million Regional Racing Infrastructure Fund, established to support non-metropolitan racing and training venues. Beyond Werribee, Victoria is dotted with many long-standing and well-attended local racetracks and horse enthusiasts, all will no doubt benefit greatly from this initiative.
Photos courtesy of Victoria Racing Club
IRT software development Early in 2006 IRT began developing our own brand new Flight Manager software system, specifically designed to; improve the way our staff process information about each individual horse, heighten communication between individuals and offices, and keep our clients even better informed with up-to-date information about their horse. IRT’s senior Lotus Notes applications developer Tamir Bowen (profiled in this edition of the Blueprint), explains the development of this important software: “The project began as a vision of IRT Melbourne’s Operations Manager Chris Burke, who surmised that there had to be a more efficient way of managing the process of horse shipping. In January 2007, I joined the team in Melbourne and was tasked with transforming Chris’s vision into a reality. In a little under 6 months, the first version of IRT’s Flight Manager Application was launched. Prior to the existence of the system, information was entered manually on numerous pieces of documentation. The information between IRT offices was communicated via a combination of Excel Spreadsheets, emails and faxes, and as a result, was limited in its ability to provide a truly global view of the horse transportation process.
The initial goal of the application was to reduce the amount of data entry and reproduction of information by staff members and to create an application that all of IRT, regardless of location, could access to view current information about flights. Over the last 4 years the application has undergone constant improvement and fine tuning, with the gradual deployment to all IRT offices and worksites worldwide. Today the Flight Manager Application has become an integral part of how IRT operates its business and has expanded to include; contacts management, quote management and invoicing. IRT’s staff members are able to manage all of their flights in one place and are able to spend more time caring for their client’s needs, and less time manually filling out documentation. One of the challenges of managing a multi site, global company is communication and the guarantee that all IT services will
be functioning properly at all times, in all places. To ensure that staff members are always able to connect to the information they need, IRT made the decision in 2009 to move all of its Australian servers to an off site data centre, which guarantees that even in the most challenging of situations, we are always online. Using IBM’s Lotus Notes platform, IRT staff members can now chat using an in house instant messaging system, receive emails to their mobile devices and manage the entire horse transportation process from a suite of online applications, tailored to the specific needs of the company. The future of these applications at IRT is rapidly moving towards the web and mobile phones. Clients will eventually be able to log-in to a client portal, to track their horse’s shipment and be kept informed throughout its journey. IRT Staff members will also be able to login to a mobile version of the flight manager system, to view updates and make additions themselves that will be instantly available to all operations staff and clients.”
Glen Ellis Groom, IRT Australia
JAMIE MADSEN IRT Melbourne office
TAMIR BOWEN IRT IT Manager
Most people spend a good part of their youth (and often their adulthood too) trying to figure out exactly what kind of professional field they would like to work in. But some, like IRT Melbourne Groom Glen Ellis, seem made for a particular profession from very early in life.
Hailing from Brisbane, the capital of Queensland on Australia’s north-east coast, Jamie did his early equine “apprenticeship” at local tracks like Eagle Farm and Albion Park Paceway. Although a longtime fan of both gallops and harness racing, it was in the area of non-horse transportation where Jamie got his start in the logistics business – relocating people’s furniture and personal goods.
In this edition of the Blueprint we have an article about IRT’s new Flight Management software system. IRT Melbourne Operations Manager Chris Burke first conceived of the idea, but needed a committed and experienced technical expert to make it a reality. He found that in programmer and Lotus Notes specialist Tamir Bowen.
From there Jamie moved onto freight forwarding, where Jamie remembers finding “general freight to be far less interesting (than) some of the items I was seeing at the freight terminals.” So he switched to working with people who needed to move their pets, and things got a lot more interesting. Apart from the many cats and dogs, Jamie recalls moving everything from turtles to Tasmanian Devils. “Whatever type of animal it was…” says Jamie “I would get it there safe and sound.”
Tamir began working with IRT on the system in 2007 and continues to support and improve its functionality and implementation to this day. Although he spent some time in the Melbourne office, Tamir liaises with each of the four international branches of IRT and actually resides in Tel Aviv, with his wife Liat.
Growing up on a cattle farm in Wangaratta, Victoria, Glen learnt about horses the old fashioned way; watching his father work. He was soon helping out riding stockhorses, mustering cattle in the high plains, and working at the track for a neighbour before school for pocket money. After school Glen maintained his studies at TAFE, earning a two year diploma in horse studies (breeding). Jobs at Islay Valley Farm, Widden and Collingrove stud (now Swettenham) soon followed, as did a three year stretch abroad with Coolmore, at their Ashford stud in Kentucky. After spending some time at Coolmore in Australia, Glen began flying with IRT. That lead to what he describes as a “long” two years working for IRT at the Eastern Creek Quarantine, before his itchy feet were in the air again, as a travelling groom with IRT, a job Glen has been doing a great job of for almost three years. Glen’s spare time sees him staying close to his Victorian country boy roots – watching or playing Australian Rules football (though he says he “should retire”) and still heading into the mountains with dad, “chasing either brumbies or trout.”
Thankfully for IRT, Jamie and his wife Lisa decided to bring their young family (daughter Shea and son Miles) to live in her hometown of Melbourne. It was there that Jamie got a chance to combine his love of horse racing with his experience in transport, at IRT Melbourne, concentrating on routes to the UAE, Europe and USA. A big sports fan, he also enjoys seeing horses he’s helped move get results in all kinds of competition, not just racing. Including the strong results for many Austalian horses in the UAE and highlights from his long list of star travellers such as Scenic Blast’s win at Ascot. Naturally.
This remote approach has allowed Tamir to commit equal attention to every office, meeting regularly with the directors and staff of the company, to ensure that all systems are up to date, all employees are trained-up and any new features are implemented smoothly. Tamir has brought great advances to the way IRT cares for the horses entrusted to them and in return has enjoyed becoming a part of the company. “It’s great to be a part of a company that understands the importance of technology,” says Tamir, “and I’m extremely proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish.”
IRT International Offices
International Racehorse Transport Suite 1501, 401 Docklands Drive Docklands, Victoria 3008, Australia T +61 (0)3 9643 3000 F +61 (0)3 9643 3030 www.irt.com
T +61 (0)3 9643 3000
F +61 (0)3 9643 3030
UK & Europe
T +44 (0)1638 668 003
F +44 (0)1638 665 534
T +64 (0)9 297 2022
F +64 (0)9 298 6066
T +1 630 513 0312
F +1 630 513 0412
T +1 310 306 0262
F +1 310 306 2003
T +1 305 444 8184
F +1 305 441 8177
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